I think he was in junior high. High school for James was only OK. He too took a rebellious streak come his junior year, and yet I will tell you truthfully I didn't worry too much. I think because I really believed his in born nature was such that I KNEW he would come out the other side and be OK. And sure enough he did. At age nineteen James came to me one night and told me that he was basically really unhappy with his life and honestly just didn't know which direction he should be going. It was VERY easy to me. He needed to start by getting himself right with God, and the rest would follow. Now he had pretty much heard this his whole life from both me and his father, and of course had attended Christian schools the whole way through which had pretty much hammered in the importance of this as well. He was also AT church every Sunday with us too. But none of that makes you a Christian of course, and after really talking to him I knew he was the classic example of a person that KNOWS the Bible well, DOES what is expected, but doesn't really know the Lord on a personal basis. So after that conversation I told him that his father was going to a men's conference that night at church, and he should really go along and REALLY listen to what was being said. He agreed to go. I spent that night on my knees BEGGING God to touch his heart and open his ears. He came home that night a changed man! and I mean changed. He had gone forward at the end of the message that night and given his heart to the Lord. And from that moment on he has lived his life for Him. He began being at church every time the door was open, and reading his bible all times of the day and night. It wasn't long after that when he told us he felt God was telling him to sign up for Calvary Chapel's bible college in the fall. Trust me we wasted NO time checking into that. We were told that enrollment for the fall was over, and the school was full, but they encouraged us to come down and take a look at the campus and maybe get on the list for second semester. So we did of course. However, the Lord had other plans. Because when we got there that day they had a cancellation and there was a spot available after all. We knew he was to be there, and so did they. Two weeks later he had moved onto their beautiful campus down in Marietta and began his journey in bible college. And what an unbelievable journey that was. By the time he had graduated he had not only studied the bible in great depth, and had made two, two month long missionary trips out of the country, but had also met a wonderful, wonderful girl [who was attending the college as well] and gotten engaged. Just a few months later he got married and at first began working for free [in addition to his paying job of course!] at the large Calvary Chapel called Marantha down in San Diego. It wasn't too much after that he was hired full time to work at the church as the junior high pastor. Two years later he was promoted to their senior high pastor. Now this was a HUGE church. Close to nine thousand members. So their high school ministry was a big one. Several hundred kids attended on any given Sunday and during the week. He was totally in charge of their high school youth group which was way more involved then I would have ever thought. He was a VERY busy man. In addition to that he and Larissa had begun their own family. After about two years of teaching the high school kids, the pastor of their church began to talk to James about what he felt the Lord was telling him about James. He felt he was to eventually be a senior pastor and have his own church. He wanted to begin to prepare him for that so he gave James the responsibility of teaching the Sunday night service at their church. He also did a very occasional Sunday morning, and a Wednesday night or two as well. I will NEVER forget the first time he was to teach on a Sunday morning there, as of course hubby and I made the trip down. As did my parents, and some of my sisters and their families etc. Well let me tell you when we pulled into that PACKED parking lot with literally hundreds and hundreds of cars [they have 3 services and of course we had chosen the most popular time to attend...close to 4 thousand were there I am sure] my heart started beating sooo hard you would have thought that I was to give the message. I was suddenly almost hysterical. Was he ready for this? Did he know what he had gotten himself into? Would he speak clearly, be understood, have much to say, FORGET where he was, or on and on went my head. I began to pray like I hadn't prayed in a while it seemed. I honestly don't remember ever a time I felt quite so hysterical, lol. And I was no stranger to hysteria as I had watched some of my kids pitch the winning game during baseball or softball season, quarter back in the CIF finals, have the lead at the local theater, step on stage and do a stand up comedy show, and compete for a national title belt, but this had topped them all. By the time he was introduced and made his way to the podium I honestly felt I might need to lay down. But from the minute he opened his mouth and began to speak I knew deep in my heart that God had indeed called him to this place, and to this time, and for this reason. I knew that this was God's doing and no one else's. Several went forward that morning to commit their hearts to God, and my poor mom just stood there and cried. I was tempted to join her. What a moment in time. Since that time he has indeed become the senior pastor of his own church, had 4 BEAUTIFUL children, and become a man I am very proud to call my son. His sense of humor is always evident and he keeps his church laughing all the time. But his knowledge and ability to teach is truly a gift and calling from God and he uses it for His glory. He is always someone I can count on, lean on, and go to with a heavy heart to and he can and does lift me up. It is kind of funny to know him as both my son and my Pastor and yet I do. It is my prayer of course that God will continue to use and bless his life.
I have decided it is very hard to write these posts about my kids and NOT feel as though I am bragging and going on and on. But remember I did warn you that these posts were going to be telling you MAINLY of all the things they did well or right. Trust me, I could write MANY posts about their short comings and mistakes and moments of my deep despair as well. But I have chosen instead to focus on the good. My Jimmy Mike has ALWAYS been a deep source of joy for me, and someone I treasure and admire and love with my whole heart, and how I thank the Lord that he was born and he blessed me with this amazing man.
|HIS FOURTH BIRTHDAY...FOUND THIS THE OTHER DAY, LOL, HE WAS SOO CUTE|
|TOOK HIS WIFE TO ITALY ON THEIR TENTH ANNIVERSARY|
|TAKEN RECENTLY.....LOVE THIS OF THEM|
|ANOTHER RECENT ONE|
|TAKEN LAST DECEMBER WHEN HE TOOK HIS 11 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER TO DISNEYLAND FOR THE DAY FOR HER BIRTHDAY, JUST HIM AND HER....LOVE THIS PHOTO|
|LAST SUMMER...HE AND CAPRI...HE ADORES HIS FIRST BORN|
|AND OUR LITTLE MINI JAMES, JD|
|HE AND JD AT AT ONE OF THEIR BELOVED CHARGES FOOTBALL GAME|
|JAMES AND FEISTY LITTLE DONATELLA|
|SWEET TWO YEAR OLD VINCENT JAMES|
|A RECENT PIC OF ALL 4 OF THEM...HIS FAMILY ARE AT THE BEACH PRETTY MUCH ALL THE TIME.....THEY ALL LOVE IT|
|YEP, PRETTY HANDSOME|
Hope you all have a good week-end!